Grassroots Heroes

Solutions to the world’s most pressing problems often originate at the grassroots level. A new non-profit organization uses multi-media technology and a global team of volunteers to find those solutions and broadcast them. Based out of British Columbia, SAWA Global has video volunteers in 50 of the world’s poorest countries documenting inspiring people who are using innovative solutions to tackle problems in their communities. They train local community leaders to use pocket-sized camcorders that run on AA batteries to record and edit a short video and upload it onto the web. This extra step to turn local leaders into journalists is what separates SAWA from similar aid efforts. By documenting their efforts on SAWA Global’s website, these individuals can connect with others who can learn from or collaborate with them. SAWA Global began in 2007 as the brainchild of Daphne Nederhorst, a Canadian journalist/community organizer who grew up in Tanzania and the Netherlands. One of the “SAWA heroes” documented was a widow with AIDS from Zimbabwe, who began her own community-based organization called the Shingirirai Trust to help young people develop inner strength and to counsel them on nutrition and work skills.